Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Women, Wimbledon and the BBC

Is it my imagination or is there a tangible difference in the commentary for the women's matches at Wimbledon compared to the men's?

Whenever I turn on 5 Live as I'm driving around, I find myself hearing a subtext on the women's game.

Although references to curvaceous thighs and pressed, crisp skirts by the male broadcasters appear less frequent than in a former era (though they are not entirely absent) the more noticeable linguistic trait is the frequent use of words such as "feeling", "up and down", "not quite herself", "inconsistent" and "unsettled". This endless psycho-babble causes me to keep feeling (see what I mean) that I've stepped into a therapy session - with the sport as an almost incidental backdrop.

This feeling (there I go again) is exacerbated by the presence in the commentary teams of former low ranking British female players brought in for no reason that I can detect other than the fact that they used to hit a ball a few years back and that they possess that oh-so-clipped home counties accent that creates a vague air of formality and, well, you know, refinement.

It's all very, oo, you know, nice.

Which is why, I think, the BBC's coverage of the women's tournament this year does absolutely nothing for me as a sporting event.

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